Mrs May – Save Us!

From the pages of that trusty source of the latest developments in medical politics, The British Medical Journal (7 January 2017), comes an arresting news item: More than 1000 doctors and other healthcare workers…have written an open letter to the prime minister, Theresa May, and England’s health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, urging them to publish a […]

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How Not to Stop Smoking – Part III

In the Tobacco Control Industry three unhelpful concepts regularly crop up in learned articles in scholarly journals. Or scholarly articles in learned journals. Trying to give up This is the idea which is derived from the common response people give if asked whether they smoke. If they do, they’re likely to say, ‘Yes – but […]

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A Little Known Risk of Smoking

Here is a sad story which illustrates a little-known sad fact about smoking. It was recently reported in the Southern Daily Echo online news that ‘a Mum tried to smuggle nearly 35,000 cigarettes through Southampton docks’. It is said that she ‘tried to avoid paying almost £11,500 in tax by storing the tobacco in her […]

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Why Doctors Should Quit Being Involved in Smoking Cessation

As part of my continuing efforts to keep up to date in the practice of medicine I subscribe to a generally very good online publication from America called, appropriately enough, UpToDate®. They send bi-weekly reminders of the latest research, and in today’s issue a section on  e-cigarettes caught my eye. In America they are, rightly […]

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The Dangers of Stopping Smoking

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: almost everything that most people believe about smoking is wrong. Browsing the internet will reveal plenty of examples. Here’s one I came across recently. It’s a YouTube video by a certain Dr Eric Berg. He’s not a doctor in the usual sense of the word but […]

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Keys, Wallet, Phone – Vaporiser!

If you’re like me, before you leave your home you need to check— and double check—that you’ve got your keys, wallet and phone. Women do not have this problem because they keep everything they need, and probably a lot more besides, in their handbag. However, life has just become more complicated, at least for some […]

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E-Cigarettes May Be Hazardous To Your Health

Is this the beginning of the end for ENDS? The acronym – much medical writing is scattered with annoying non-standard abbreviations of this sort – means Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems. These drug-delivery devices (for that is what they are) were in the spotlight at a conference in India of the FCTC (there we go again) […]

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To Vape, or Not to Vape, That is the Question!

I recently signed up for the Vaping Post, an online publication that ‘brings information on vaping’. They add, ‘We consider that the electronic cigarette (vaporizer) is a method of risk reduction for adult smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit smoking.’ Having set out their raison d’être they rightly caution that: Vaping exposes the […]

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The Art of Medicine and Stopping Smoking

The distinguished medical journal, The Lancet, in June 2016 reported the results of a huge multinational collaborative effort to investigate the risks of psychiatric side-effects of two drugs used in smoking cessation: varenicline (Champix®) and buproprion (Zyban®); no evidence of increased harm was found compared with nicotine patches and placebo (dummy) treatments. This must have […]

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Dr Cyriax and Frozen Shoulder

Dr James Cyriax, 1904 – 1985 When I was training to be a general practitioner I realized there were many patients suffering from disorders of the moving parts of the body. That is, pain felt in the muscles or joints, such as stiff neck, shoulder pains, backache, sciatica, tennis elbow, etc. Further, it soon became […]

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Chewing the Wall and Climbing the Carpet

In the best tradition of the orthodox approach to smoking cessation, this year’s vintage of the quaintly named Stoptober scheme, produced by NHS England, has just finished. At least it’s an improvement on the previous two versions. Last year’s seemed intended to encourage smokers to quit through humour. Is it a laughing matter? The idea […]

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Smoking Doctor

It seems cigar smoking is still regarded as ‘naughty but nice’, at least by one doctor—an anaesthetist into the bargain – who in a recent interview in The British Medical Journal admitted that his ‘guiltiest pleasure’ was ‘the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 cigar’. He added, guiltily, ‘Although I know I shouldn’t.’ I thought […]

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Why NRT Makes it Harder to Stop Smoking

NRT, let me remind you, means so-called nicotine replacement therapy. Why ‘so-called’? Because nicotine is not a replacement for anything, nor is nicotine being replaced with something, so the name is wrong. It really means cigarette replacement but could equally well and more accurately be called nicotine maintenance therapy (NMT). The idea is that, since […]

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Stopping Smoking is its Own Reward

In my research on smoking I recently came across a book and a website with the following titles: ‘Smoke-free in 30 days’ and ‘STOP SMOKING! in 28 days’ (sic), respectively. Here’s a quote from the latter: ‘Getting hooked doesn’t happen over night (sic) and getting unhooked is best done in the same way: over a […]

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Cold Turkey

So much activity in dealing with the smoking problem is directed towards trying to get smokers to stop. But you have to start doing something before you can stop doing it. In this regard it seems the official policy is to discourage young people from taking up the habit by various means, which according to […]

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